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First Utility launches in Germany – branded as Shell

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Energy supplier will sell gas and electricity in Germany using global oil giant’s branding under new joint venture

First Utility and Royal Dutch Shell are to launch a new venture in Germany selling households gas and electricity under Shell’s branding.

The deal marks First Utility’s first foray abroad after establishing itself as Britain’s biggest ‘challenger’ supplier to the Big Six.

It is also thought to be the first time Shell, the global oil and gas giant, has struck a major household energy supplier partnership to sell electricity and gas in its name in Europe.

The deal builds on an existing arrangement in the UK in which Shell trades the gas and electricity that First Utility manages marketing and sells to its customers.

However in Germany, while the same division of labour will apply, “all product and service offerings will be Shell branded” – leading to an unusual arrangement in which First Utility will be responsible for the oil giant’s reputation and marketing.

The supplier said it had opted to use Shell’s branding in Germany because Shell was “already a well-known and established brand with an extensive nationwide presence in Germany”, with over 2,000 petrol stations and 7 million loyalty card customers.

The German energy market is dominated by four utility giants – E.On, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – but challenger brands hold a significant share of the market and number into their hundreds, unlike in the UK where there are about a dozen main challengers.

Ian McCaig, chief executive of First Utility, said it believed that “greater engagement and transparency from an energy supplier” would appeal in Germany.

“First Utility has helped to change the face of the energy industry in the UK and our first move overseas is another exciting opportunity for us,” he said.

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Jonathan McCloy, general manager North West Europe for Shell Energy Europe, said: “Shell Energy Europe has an established and strong presence in the German market offering advanced energy solutions to wholesalers and large industries.

“This agreement allows us to access the household market in Germany through a trusted relationship with First Utility.”

SOURCE

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